Wednesday Webhits: The Frost King’s Links Of The Week

This week we’ve got a some more on how the points system effects scoring, whether a goalie should be credited more for making those “big saves”, the top individual players in the power-rankings, and who should be chosen for the All-Star team.

Leverage, Pre- and Post-Lockout

“Leverage is a concept that gets used a lot in baseball – it’s essentially the probability of winning at a given point in a game. In hockey, unlike baseball, teams are awarded a point for losing, so leverage actually captures not winning percentage, but the expected number of points a team can expect in the standings given the score and the time remaining in the game…

What I want to draw your attention to is the difference between the two charts.  In particular, there is a significant leverage difference in tie games:


Basically, the “loser point” has completely changed third-period incentives.  Giving up a tie-breaking goal in the last five minutes of the game is now approximately one quarter point more costly than it was before the lockout, while scoring that same goal is worth one quarter point less than it was before.  NHL teams are obviously aware of these incentives, and it should come as no surprise that a record high percentage of games have been tied at the end of regulation time this season.  I know of no other sport that works like post-lockout hockey – as long as teams don’t decide to game system any more than they already do, it can probably continue.  But the incentive is to play for the tie whenever you can, and the system can easily fall completely out of its unsteady equilibrium.”

I know I’m beating a dead horse on this, but the system is bad.

The Hogwash of “Big Saves”

“If there exist some goals that are unstoppable and a goalie can’t predict his team’s future offence, which are two basic assumptions that obviously hold in hockey, there really is very little opportunity for a goalie to mess with the scoreline without costing his team. And that is why attempts to explain away poor individual save statistics with references to a goalie’s win total are just biased nonsense.

Long story short, the next time you hear an announcer say something like, “It’s not how many saves you make, it’s when you make them”, what he’s actually telling you is, “I have no idea how to separate the contribution of a goalie from the contribution of the rest of the team.””

Player Power Rankings: Miller Time

Ovie stays at #4, where he’s been for a while. He’s the top non-goalie in the ranking at 21 Goals Versus Threshold.

“Nothing says success like a 10-game winning streak, and the most comforting thing for the Capitals is that it’s not all Ovechkin. While the captain has an impressive 18 points over those nine games, that still leaves 27 goals on which he wasn’t involved.”

Howe and Why: The 2010 All-Stars

Mike Green was ranked as the Easterns Conference’s top defenseman, and second in the NHL behind Chicago’s Duncan Keith. Three Capitals made it amongst the forwards, with Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Semin all ranked in the top 7.